Preventing Problematic Substance Use Among Youth Through Enhancing Their Awareness and Resiliency

Abstract

Problematic substance use is one of the most critical public health issues, which needs a broad national attempt, strong collaboration, and comprehensive research to identify effective tackling solutions that are feasible, comprehensive, compassionate, and evidence-based (HHS, 2016).

Although tackling the substance use issue requires interventions across different areas of prevention, treatment, and harm reduction, evidence-based prevention interventions playing an essential role not only in reducing substance use, also addressing a wide range of potential problems beyond that, specifically among youths (National Report, 2016). It is evident that the youth population (defined in this study as 12-18- years old) is one of the at-risk populations, which needs a special focus and specific prevention strategies. Early experience with substance use not only affects youth population’s current health and well-being, also has several negative outcomes on their future development and life and on the community as a whole (CCSA (Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse), 2007).

This study focuses on the potential preventive intervention, which may be an opportunity to prevent, reduce, or delay problematic substance use among youths. This paper describes the development of a prevention toolkit model, which is based on the Risk & Resiliency theory and aims to reduce risk-taking behavior (focused on Substance use) in the youth population by enhancing their awareness and resilience. Resiliency is an important aspect of mental well-being, which enables young people to manage their lives well and positively, in spite of any trauma or adversity that they have experienced. The development of resilience is associated with not only the prevention of problematic substance use, also other problematic behaviors that put young people at risk, such as: bullying, violence, mental health problems, early sexual activity, depression and suicide. Investing in the resilience is seen as a powerful promoting step, which is not only a powerful skill to overcome different types of adversities, also has a huge impact on youth’s promoting academic success, better mental and physical health, and more socially responsible lifestyles (Rudzinski, McDonough, & et al., 2017).

Keywords

Problematic substance use, adolescents, youth population, risk & resilience theory, prevention, substance use management, strength-based skills

Maryam Mallakin, 2020. Preventing Problematic Substance Use Among Youth (defined here as 12-18 years old) Through Enhancing Their Awareness and resiliency.